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Encountering the Book of Psalms: A Literary and Theological Introduction (Encountering Biblical Studies) Paperback – July 1, 2004
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About the Author
C. Hassell Bullock (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College) is Franklin S. Dyrness Professor of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College. He is the author of An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books and coeditor of The Literature and Meaning of Scripture.
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Bullock divides his examination of the psalms into three major pieces. The first part deals with the literary and hermeneutical issues of psalms studies. Captions (superscriptions) and the difficult terms found in some of them, the relationship of the psalms to music, the literary structure of the book on a macro level (the five books within the Psalms) and micro level (the structure of Hebrew poetry) are all considered in a scholarly but accessible manner.
In the second section, the author examines the uses of the psalms in worship and faith, considering the different ways in which they can be approached, as well as a history of the use of the psalms, ranging from the original readers through to modern times. Bullock also explores key theological and historical themes that appear in Psalms.
In the final section, the Psalms are considered from the perspective of genre classification. This section is outstanding; the busy pastor or scholar will find plenty of helpful charts that map the genre characteristics to individual psalms. Not only has Bullock presented an excellent approach to classification, he has managed to do so in a manner that is sometimes richly devotional for the reader. Of particular excellence is the final chapter dealing with the imprecatory psalms.
The book concludes with a select bibliography, a handy glossary of terms encountered in psalms studies, and a comprehensive Scripture index. Although serious scholars will need to add more books than this to their Psalms library, if you can afford but one book of prolegomena on the Psalms, this one will serve you very well.